During the summer Archive Services asked children and young people across Dundee to be inspired by items in their collections. Under 16s were asked to draw or write a story in response one of the images in the poster at the end of this post.

We are sharing these two wonderful entries, one a piece of writing by Ella Matthews and another a drawing by Ava Kelly.

Ella says this about the photograph that she chose:

“I was inspired by the first image (dancers and pipers on the top of a hill). I thought it was an interesting dynamic and that the landscape behind the people was really beautiful and full of colour. This inspired me to think about nature and imagine who had been there before that particular group of people”.

Here is the image from the University Archives Grampian Club collection.

Geal Charn c 1980s

And here is Ella’s response. Read it slowly, breathe deeply and feel at one with our landscape.

Of Evolving and Enduring

“The ground we walk on has been walked on a million times before. A million different footprints, a million different people. Never knowing who came before, never knowing who would come after. Lives and stories, so very different but all intertwined. A race of beings, tangled up in each other, even if we don’t realise it. Years pass, people move on, grow old, pass from one life to another.

But there is one constant. Before there were people, there was land. The surface might change but the heart is the same. The heart of the land that has seen it all, will see it all. Something to which every person is inconceivably connected. Something we have so much control over, yet none at all.

Stars shine above our heads; earth moves beneath our feet. The sun rises and sets; the moon comes and goes. Plants grow, flower, die. But we never stop to look, to appreciate. The land may see it all, but we see nothing. Each day passes us by until it’s too late, until we’re too far gone.

But why should we carry on like this? Why should we not stop and, as they say, smell the roses? Find patterns in the clouds and smile a little more? Let the part of our soul that links us to the land roam free?

For it lives inside of us, the land. We try to supress our connection to the world around us, to each other, but it lives and lives, just as we live and live. Stop and breathe and see the colours and smell the smells. Think about the million different footprints. Fill your heart up and evolve the right way. Look to the future, not the past. It is never too late to change. Like the leaves of a tree, we grow again, each time with a little more hope. We endure. The land endures.”

Ava chose this picture:

From the collection of Professor Peacock, Professor of Natural History – an expedition to Raasay in the 1930s

She says:

“My drawing was inspired by the photograph of the tents. I liked that there was no real indication of where in the world they were, what the weather was like, how many people were staying in the tents.  All that I could tell was that there was water, mountains or a big hill and two tents. I decided that since the photograph was in black and white I would make my drawing as colourful as possible and imagined my own little campsite surrounded by lots of trees, a little stream and mountains.”

And here is that colourful image, it would look good on any living room wall.

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